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Wed, 11th November 2015

Some people are tired. Not just a bit tired, but tired and tired all the time. What's more, most have wandered from doctor to doctor, undergone innumerable blood and other tests, all of which come back normal. If left, it may gradually get worse. Some end up in wheel chairs. Its common name is CFS - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. No vitamins, Pills, placebo (fake) tablets or anything else seem to help.

A while ago, some doctors in Perth's University of Western Australia dreamed up a simple solution. What's more, they found it worked with many patients, even long term ones who'd been bugged for years They called it "The Exercise Prescription". "Engaging the patient", that means getting them on side and gaining their confidence was essential. Then the programme starts. Many patients fear exercise will exacerbate their symptoms but this treatment says the opposite.

Get exercise, your symptoms will often gradually lessen and may finally vanish. Exercise is started every second day, and in a form that uses all major muscle groups. They suggest walking, swimming, cycling or even jogging. For the first fortnight, time gradually increases from one to ten minutes, depending on the persons capacity. If they feel unwell one day, maybe miss one but then recommence. If already on some exercise routine, this method is on top of this, and also on top of any regular duties they are carrying out.

Patients are taught how to take their pulse and record. A diary is kept on how they feel, called the "Perceived Exertion Scale". It is carried out under medical supervision. Patients are told exercise also helps improve physical function, cardiac failure, mood swings and depression and other psychological conditions. It costs nothing and is worth a try. CFS is common in the community.



Is it best to cut off corns on the toes with scissors or a razor?


It is best to visit a podiatrist. Corns are due to constant irritation, such as rubbing by a shoe that is too short or too narrow, or has irregular knobs or stitching inside. It will be treated along with the rest of your toes and feet, and suitable advice given. Corns are self inflicted, but worse if the tiny toe bones are lumpy exacerbating the rubbing. Proper fitting foot gear is essential. Care is even more vital in diabetics, where blood flow is often reduced. Untreated, serious effects can occur.

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I have been suffering from a very painful left leg which radiates down into the foot and toes.


This may be a simple musculo-skeletal issue with overstretched or torn muscle fibres. It may respond to analgesics, massage, hot and cold therapy or acupuncture. There may be destruction of the disc low in the back, often detected by imaging. When all simple therapy fails, surgical microdiscectomy is often magical. Hospital for 2 days, the damaged disc pressing on the sciatic nerve root is removed and wondrous relief takes place. It is carried out by a neurosurgeon. Talk to your GP.

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I had been bugged by tummy discomfort, unsuccessfully tried the usual antacids, and a friend suggested slippery elm from a health food shop. I am not into alternative medicine, but gave it a go. Damn me, my upset tummy now seems ok.


Well, well. This "traditional remedy" has been used for hundreds of years. In many, it certainly offers relief. A capsule is taken once or twice a day. However, if symptoms recur and worsen, an endoscopic examination is worthwhile to exclude any nasties. Ulcers and stomach cancer are still seen in young people. Incidentally, do not smoke.

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We have lots of tall gums in our area and at certain times, it is not uncommon to be attacked by birds. Their sharp beaks can give a good gash in the head or face. Should these be treated?


Any injury that bleeds needs bathing and pressure till it stops. Then application of an antiseptic such as Betadine or similar product. Stitching is rarely needed. However, birds peck at all sorts of horrible stuff which may be full or bacteria. A tetanus toxoid update may be needed, and perhaps antibiotics if the doctors thinks this advisable. Manure is one of the commonest sources of tetanus spores just waiting to jump into a wound and cause trouble. Attacking birds are usually out to protect their young.

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The more I pick and fiddle with my nose the more irritable it becomes. I dig around and it bleeds. After a while, it irritates again and bloody crusts form which I again dig out.


Minor infections and allergies are the commonest cause of irritating nostrils the first part of the respiratory system. Often placing a cold flannel over the area shrinks down blood vessels and removes the desire to fiddle. Drink lots of water to wash away histamine which is invariably the culprit. It is usually worse when there are pollens in the atmosphere. Steroid nasal sprays for a day or two often relieve. Paracetamol can help, as pain and itch travel on the same nerve pathways.

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This health advice is general in nature. You are advised to seek medical attention from your doctor or health care provider for your own specific symptoms and circumstances.



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